Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The girl from Ipanema does walking... Just a quick post from an internet cafe near to Copacabana beach. Made it to Rio, all is well, weather is great, hotel is ideal. Today we are off to see the sights - the Jesus the Redeemer statue and the Maracana stadium.

MCing. I mentioned in some emails recently to some of you that I had to MC an event for Cultura Inglesa. It was the graduation ceremony for the kids who have been taking English courses and they wanted a native English speaker to lead the ceremony. So I was promptly roped in for son-in-law duties on the day before our holiday to Rio.

The whole experience was quintissentially Brazilian - high on the appearance of formality, but in reality very relaxed. The evening started (unusually) punctually at 8pm with only about a third of the guests having arrived. Teachers read out the names of their students, but a good chunk of kids missed the chance to go and get their certificates simply because they were still on their way. So as the ceremony went on, I kept being thrust scraps of paper with the names of students on who wanted to collect their certificates despite having missed their call.

Now, Brazilian names, it must be said, are not always easy to pronounce. Brazilians add names and surnames seemingly at will onto the end of their birth name. In fact, names are organised here in lists not by surname (as in the UK) but alphabetically by first name. Added to this is that some names come complete with a host of accents, squiggles, stresses and syllables wedged in all over the place taxing the most fluent of Portuguese speakers, yet alone a gringo like myself.

The upshot of all this was that much of the ceremony was spent with me having to say things like: "At this point in the ceremony we need to go back to the presentation for Upper II certificates as some more students have just arrived, and so can I call Arturo Vieira de Souza Reyes, Thais Gins Limar and Joanna Magalhaes Jungman de Vera Santos to the stage to collect their certificates please". And so on. All in all, it went pretty well considering.

Christmas trivia: does anyone know Pele's real name? Answer on this blog in a few days time.

No comments: